Lucio Co’s PBCOM achieves universal bank status

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Tycoon Lucio Co’s Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) has obtained a key universal banking license, allowing it to offer the same services as the country’s top lenders.

The certificate of authority to operate a universal bank granted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas was a milestone for the lender in its bid to expand.

“Our upgraded license to operate as a universal bank is a significant milestone for PBCOM for two reasons: first, this marks the return of the bank to its former status after having successfully completed its capital buildup and enhanced profitability programs since the entry of the new investor group in 2012,” PBCOM chair Eric O. Recto said in a statement.

“Second, this is a clear acknowledgment of the success of our business model which is pinned on the pillars of strong compliance and risk management procedures, customer service-centered practices and a highly independent governance structure,” Recto said.

“The continued support of our main shareholders, as evidenced by the growing capital base, is another reason why PBCOM’s upgrade is well deserved,” he added.

PBCOM earlier reported a nine-month net income of P1.3 billion, up 14.6 percent from the same period last year. Interest income rose 14 percent to P4.03 billion due to gains from investments, higher yields and loan volume.

The lender booked P55.6 million in fees and commissions, mainly from loan processing fees and penalty charges on corporate loans.

This was partially offset by P99.7 million in net trading losses and lower rental income from vacancies of leased floors, preterminations and renegotiated contracts in the wake of the pandemic.

Total operating expenses from January to September also rose by P185.9 million due to higher credit provisions, impairment losses and manpower costs. Its nonperforming loans ratio stood at 3.57 percent, lower than 4.89 percent in the same period last year.

PBCOM ended the period with total assets of P109.2 billion, higher by P12.3 billion.

—Miguel R. Camus

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